More and more home builders are embracing technology to help keep their businesses running amid the current COVD-19 pandemic. Teleworking when possible, online closings and other services, and increased private showings were all cited in a recent NAHB survey of builders
But other technologies, like the use of drones
to make properties more accessible, have been helpful in recent years, and may become more widely used as the industry adapts due to stay at home orders, social distancing, and possible restricted movement even as some state stay orders have lifted.
Tracy Butler, executive officer of the Illinois Home Builders & Remodelers Metro East Association was recently interviewed for Building Women
magazine about her use of drones to spark interest in an event. Butler used a local production company to create videos that included both aerial and interior footage. The drones were able to capture a 360-degree view of the exterior of a home and fly-ins showcased the interiors.
Butler and others noted that attendance had wavered at some events in recent years, leaving some builders unable to keep all their homes manned with sales agents during events like a Parade of Homes or her Dream Homes event. Drone footage videos can bring the homes directly to buyers via their computer or cell phones.
"The bottom line is prospective home buyers could see the attractive new homes from the convenience of their smartphone," Butler said. "It truly was a win-win for everyone."
Of the more than 1.5 million drones registered in the United States, about one third are registered for commercial use, with home builders at the forefront of the technology's use for things like aerial photographs for promotional materials, tracking progress during development of sites, and preliminary surveillance before starting a project.
Drone photography is not new but may be one tool that could see increased usage by builders for sales and marketing, showcasing an entire community and its surroundings as well as individual homes. Drone images can also be used during surveying and acquisition of land.
With prospective buyer traffic severely diminished in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, some home builders have scaled back on advertising investments. But others see that move as short-sighted and believe it could result in more long-term challenges. NAHB held two recent webinars
addressing the topic of how businesses and sales teams are adjusting their strategies.
This post is adapted from a recent article in Building Women magazine, which takes an in-depth look at women in building, and features on current industry trends, innovative products, the latest technology, and economic forecasts. Readers will also find a variety of interesting columns on career building, work/life balance, business management, and the latest on Professional Women in Building Council news, events and activities. See more at nahb.org.